Religion and Spirituality
Faith is taking the first step even when
you don’t see the whole staircase.
—Martin Luther King, Jr.
As we have previously discussed, religion and spirituality do not necessarily have to go hand-in-hand. There are many people who practice faith on an ongoing basis and yet do not regularly attend a place of worship. On the other hand, there are those who attend sermons and/or religious classes every week and still have no true connection to their spirituality. This understandable disconnect is due to the fact that faith and religion are not one and the same.
Religion can be defined as “a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe.” Faith by contrast is often defined as “confidence or trust in a person or thing.” By comparing these definitions side-by-side we can see that one of these practices can easily occur with or without the other, as is so often the case. My purpose here is not to condemn one or the other, but rather to point out that true spirituality is not defined by your religious preferences or practices. You can practice faith within a specific religion as the foundation of your spiritual belief or you can practice faith in a universal power without any specific religious affiliation whatsoever.
If you are a religious person, it is this author’s opinion that you keep practicing your present religion as you learn to become more spiritual. However, there is no right way to be spiritual and everybody must ultimately seek their own path. You can find a way to exercise your developing spirituality while in church, temple, or simply by speaking with like-minded individuals. I believe you will find that connecting to your spirituality as laid out in this website will help you to grow your faith within the context of your current beliefs.
If you are a person who was brought up without a specific religion, a person who has renounced their religion, or a person who has not yet made up their mind, faith remains easily accessible for you. Open your mind to the possibilities of developing your faith through your own research, your own thoughts and through your own practice. It is becoming perfectly acceptable in our modern society to be a spiritual person without being associated with a particular religious sect.
Regardless of religious affiliation (or lack thereof) you may at first feel that you are becoming a kind of outcast amongst your friends and family. When this happens, remember that you are on your own path to spiritual enlightenment and they are on theirs. You will know you are on the right path not by what others say, but by how you feel when things are finally going your way.
At first, this feeling of being on track with your growing faith may be fleeting, but as you continue to practice and learn, your self-doubt will vanish and you will start to attract others who have similar views. You will find that life begins to miraculously change and come together in a way to best serve you and your beliefs. Your every waking hour will become filled with a love energized by faith. You will find that every moment is worth living to its fullest potential. Professor of Psychiatry, Emmanuel Teney emphasized this observation when he said:
As your faith is strengthened you will find that there
is no longer the need to have a sense of control, that
things will flow as they will and that you will flow
with them, to your great delight and benefit.